What to Know Before Buying a Solar Panel Battery

When shopping around for a solar panel battery, you'll find two basic types used in storing solar electricity. The main difference between them is that one uses an acidic solution and one uses an alkaline solution.

Lead-acid batteries are the ones most commonly used in storing solar electricity. This is primarily because they are cheaper and can be found almost anywhere in the world.

When buying a lead-acid solar panel battery be sure only to buy deep cycle batteries as they are made to be discharged on a repeated basis to as much as 50% of their rated capacity. Shallow cycle batteries, the unsuitable alternative, are only built to supply short bursts of extreme power. Therefore they will deteriorate quickly if defected by any more than 20% of their capacity too often.

When using a lead-acid solar panel battery, be sure to charge it completely after each cycle, or you run the risk it failing on you prematurely.

Regardless of how widely its use, however, one significant drawback to the lead-acid solar panel battery is that its capacity will lessen as the temperature drops, a serious problem in the dead of winter.

Alkaline batteries, on the other hand, work perfectly well in colder climates, as their solution is resistant to freezing. The newest of alkaline batteries can be left unattended and the solar electricity it's storing fully discharged without it affecting their approximate 4,000 cycle lifespan one bit (or 20 years under normal usage).

An alkaline solar panel battery will either be made of nickel-cadmium or nickel-iron. Nickel-cadmium is a slight bit more efficient but it is also very bad for the environment, whereas there are no known environmental drawbacks to using a nickel-iron solar panel battery, though it can be reduced to respond to a heavier draw.

Any new nickel-iron solar panel battery you purchase you'll need to first cycle through several times (in other words: run it completely down and power it completely back up) in order to properly break it in.

The quickest way to ruin any other kind of solar panel battery, however, is to discharge it too much (or "over-discharge"). To minimize the risk of permanently damaging your solar panel battery this, be sure not to ever discharge it more than 50% of its declared capacity. In fact, to get the longest possible life out of your solar panel battery system, run as many batteries in a string as you need in order that you never have to utilize more than 30% of any one battery's capacity.

It is equally dangerous to overcharge your solar panel battery. Some batteries come with a built in metering system that automatically switches off the charging process once the battery is fully charged.

Lacking one of these options, however, it is highly advisable that you get for your solar panel battery some kind of battery charging monitor. This way you'll always know how close to full or empty it is. Being drying about the discharging and charging of your solar panel battery is one way to ensure you get maximum life out of it.

To determine the size of solar panel battery you'll need, you'll want to consider the following factors:

o the storage capacity you require;

o the maximum charge rate;

o the maximum discharge rate;

o (and in the case of lead-acid batteries) the temperature they're be stored at.

Whiche factor requires the greatest capacity will dictate what size solar panel battery you should get. Just be sure you've got enough capacity to handle your expected energy needs during what you could reasonably expect would be the longest uninterrupted period of cloud-cover you may experience. Then, if using a lead-acid solar panel battery, add 30% to this amount.

The last important difference to note here is that you can not professionally recondition a lead-acid solar panel battery whereas you can an alkaline one, and return it to close to its original solar electricity storage capacity.


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